McCollum '19 scores 3 goals but men's lacrosse edged by Wesleyan

Clay McCollum '19 (Josh McKee photo)
Clay McCollum '19 (Josh McKee photo)

The Wesleyan University Cardinals jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and held on for an 8-7 NESCAC win against the Hamilton College Continentals at Hamilton's Steuben Field on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

The Continentals (1-13, 0-10 NESCAC) limited Wesleyan to its lowest offensive output this year and held the Cardinals scoreless for the entire fourth quarter as Hamilton nearly pulled off a huge upset. The Continentals wrap up the season with a non-conference home game against Hartwick College on Tuesday, April 24. The game will be played under the lights on Withiam Field and is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Nationally ranked No. 5 Wesleyan (11-2, 8-1) won its third straight game and remained in a three-way tie for first place in the conference standings with Amherst College and Tufts University with one NESCAC game to go. The Cardinals host Connecticut College on Wednesday, April 25 at 4:30 p.m.

Clay McCollum '19 led Hamilton with a season-high three goals and has 70 goals and 90 points in his career with the Continentals. Eric Zurmuehle '18 won 10 faceoffs and scooped up eight ground balls, and Matt Greene '18 picked up four ground balls. James Sanderson '21 caused two turnovers and Kyle Gately '20 made nine saves.

Carter Hawthorne topped the Wesleyan offense with two goals and two assists. Cole Turpin chipped in two goals and a helper, and Harry Stanton scored twice. Andres Rodriguez collected seven ground balls and caused four turnovers, and Zach Zavalick won four faceoffs and gathered four ground balls. Chad Malinowski and Jake Cresta helped lead the defense with four and three caused turnovers, respectively. Otto Bohan needed to make just three stops as he improved his record in goal to 9-1.

The Cardinals enjoyed an 8-4 cushion with 15 seconds left in the third quarter when Hawthorne scored on a feed from Turpin. Wesleyan forced a Hamilton turnover as the Continentals were attempting a clear and Turpin picked up the loose ball and quickly found Hawthorne, who raced towards the goal and scored on a low shot.

Hamilton brought the home crowd to its feet with a flurry of goals during the next 32 seconds. After the Cardinals' eighth goal, Zurmuehle won the ensuing faceoff and passed to Sanderson, who somehow escaped a double team and found Brendan Burke '18 all alone just to the right of the crease. Burke faked a shot and then beat Bohan just as the clock hit zeros for the end of the third quarter. Burke's goal was the fourth of his collegiate career.

Zurmuehle opened the fourth quarter with another faceoff win and passed to McCollum on the left wing where he unleashed a high, hard shot from long range that found the back of the net just four seconds into the quarter. Continentals' defenseman John Ennis '19 picked up a loose ball in Hamilton's defensive third on the next faceoff. Ennis carried the ball all the way down to just outside the Wesleyan goal crease and scored as he stumbled and fell to the turf with 14:43 remaining. The goal, which pulled Hamilton within 8-7, was the first of Ennis' career.

Ennis' goal turned out to be the last one of the afternoon as the Continentals were held without a shot for the final 10 minutes. Hamilton did gain possession with about 90 seconds to go after a Gately save, but the Continentals threw the ball out-of-bounds right after a successful clear.

The Cardinals held the ball until 8.3 seconds remained after they turned the ball over on a 30-second shot clock violation. Gately heaved a long pass down to the Wesleyan end but Bohan intercepted it near his crease and the final seconds melted away.

The Cardinals scored the first three goals and never trailed as Taylor Ghesquiere, Hawthorne and Stanton gave Wesleyan a 3-0 advantage with 9:11 left. McCollum scored two goals 1:26 apart midway through the first quarter on assists from Matt Saltzman '18 and Henry Hill '19 and cut Hamilton's deficit to one. Turpin added an unassisted tally with 4:54 to go and the Cardinals led 4-2 after one.

Henry Hunt '20 scored midway through the second quarter and drew the Continentals within 4-3 on his 12th goal this season. Chad Morse '19, who leads the team with 30 points, passed to Hunt for what turned out to be the only goal of the quarter.

Ronan Jacoby restored Wesleyan's two-goal advantage with 10:27 left in the third quarter, but Owen McCarthy '20 brought Hamilton within a goal again on his first this spring and seventh of his career with 5:37 remaining. Jacoby found Turpin for a Cardinals' goal 49 seconds later, and Stanton made it a 7-4 Wesleyan advantage with 49.8 seconds to go in the third.